Even though those of us on the east coast are freezing our little tushes off, there are many parts of the country (and world) in which the sun is shining and those who practice yoga are still wearing flip-flops to the studio. But if fine weather is part of your world, why on earth are you headed to a studio at all?
Outdoor yoga is one of the most beautiful exercise experiences a person can have. And yet, so few people get to do it. Well, no more. Yoga in the park, yoga on the beach, yoga by the pool, yoga in the pool (on stand-up paddle boards), it’s all becoming part of normal practice. If you are still practicing inside, you are really missing out.
Here are seven reasons practicing yoga outside is preferable to the gym or studio.
1. No need for artificial heat
When you practice outside in the summer with the sun beating down, there is no need for an artificially heated studio. It has all the benefits of heated yoga without any of the drawbacks.
2. The ground is softer
There is no better place to practice inversions (think: handstands, forearm stands and headstands) than the soft ground. Even better? The beach. Get vertical!
3. It’s much more “gram-worthy”
If you are the type of yogi who likes to take photos for Instagram, then there is no better place than the great wide open. Peruse Insta for even a minute and you’ll see 7,000 photos of yogis enjoying the wild. It’s gorgeous to behold.
4. It’s liberating
Sometimes the voices in our heads tell us we can’t, we can’t, we can’t. Taking practice outside flips that script. Suddenly, it’s: I can. If you are working on a tricky pose, try it outside. You might just nail it.
5. Working out outside is just better
As a runner, I dread having to take it inside to a treadmill (I call it the dreadmill) or an indoor track. Working out in the outdoors is just a more enjoyable, happier overall experience. And it’s the same with yoga.
6. It’s the way yoga was meant to be practiced
When yoga started 4,000-plus years ago, people were not doing it in fancy yoga studios with incense burning and inspirational sayings on the wall. It was all outside. If you want to experience yoga the way it’s meant to be, take it outside.
7. You lose some inhibition
In a studio, it is very easy to get competitive or watch what other people are doing and compare it to your own progress. They are often tight and intimate and keep you in your head. Being outside offers so much other stimulation beyond your fellow yogis that the focus must turn more inward. If you can avoid being distracted, it’s the best way to keep your eyes on your own mat.